Cargill to sell Plainview beef plant site

Author: Doug McDonough/Plainview Herald

Although idle for the past two years, there’s still activity at Cargill’s beef processing plant today with buses still shuttling local residents on a daily bases to jobs at Cargill’s Friona plant, along with maintenance and security crews working at the local site. Also, Cargill has several empty trailers parked at the plant.

Posted: Friday, September 11, 2015 4:25 pm | Updated: 4:32 pm, Fri Sep 11, 2015.

Since 2013, Cargill has had its Plainview beef plant on idle since a severe drought slashed cattle populations. However, Friday, Cargill said it will pull out of Plainview’s plant completely as they announced that they will put the plant up for sale.

“Cargill has placed its idled Plainview plant property up for sale and the Dallas office of Commercial real estate broker, CBRE, has been retained by Cargill to market the site and evaluate potential offers,” said the food provider in a press release.

Cargill said the plant was idled on Feb. 1, 2013 for several reasons including beef processing overcapacity in the region brought about by the area’s drought-diminished cattle herd, the impact of federally mandate Country of Origin Labeling on cattle supplies and the effects of the prior year’s uproar over finely textured beef also known as (pink slime)

“For the past two-and-a-half years we’ve closely monitored the cattle supply in the U.S. hoping for a faster recovery from the drought,” said John Keating, president of Cargill’s Wichita, Kansas-based beef business.

“We don’t see condition in the Texas panhandle improving to the point where it would make sense to reopen our Plainview beef plant, especially with excess processing capacity remaining in the region.”

Plainview/Hale County Economic Devolvement Corporation Director Mike Fox said though Cargill made the move to sale the building, the facility could soon see life.

“The closing of the Cargill Beef Processing Plant marks the end of a chapter, but does not close the book on the Plainview facility” says Fox.

Fox went on to say that while some in the community had held out in hope that the plant would someday reopen, most in the community realized that was not likely. Cargill for many years was a tremendous corporate partner, providing jobs for more than 2,000 workers and giving back to the community when called on. As a community we feel for those displaced workers and local organizations like United Way who relied heavily on Cargill’s support.

“This formal announcement from Cargill will now end the speculation and rumors that have been circulating in our community for the past 2 ½ years. While the news is not what many had hoped for it does open the door of opportunity to market the facility to a buyer who may bring back some of the lost jobs. In the months ahead the Plainview/Hale County EDC will be working with Cargill representatives in their efforts to find a qualified buyer who can best utilize the existing assets at the facility,” Fox said.

The Plainview/Hale County EDC would like to thank Cargill for the many positive things they have done over the past 45 years to help this area and we sincerely wish them the best in their future endeavors.